Coinbase Begins Technical Assessment to Onboard New Ethereum Execution Client for Diversity

David Pokima
Last updated: | 2 min read
Coinbase Begins Technical Assessment to Onboard New Ethereum Execution Client for Diversity

Digital asset exchange Coinbase has revealed its effort toward Ethereum execution client diversity after users complained about the platform’s overreliance on Go.Ethereum (Geth).

In a Jan 23 X (formerly Twitter) post, Coinbase quelled community concerns about the dominance of Geth as the only execution layer on the platform noting that plans were in motion for more giving reasons for the status quo.

According to the post, diversity concerns on the exchange are a serious problem for both users and the team. Consequently, Coinbase has taken steps to move away from complete dependence on Go.ethereum.

It was revealed that launching the staking feature on the platform Geth was the only execution client that met the requirements of the exchange.

“Coinbase Cloud prioritizes the security of customer assets, and the underlying blockchain, above all else. When launching Ethereum staking and evaluating execution layer clients to maximize these traits, Geth was the only client that met our technical requirements.”

In 2022, two years before the staking feature was rolled out, Coinbase Cloud and other network operators came to the exact conclusion that has led to the dominance of Geth.

Presently 84% of Ethereum validators operate on Geth but alternative solutions are being developed and scaled up with the possibility of network integration in the future.

The exchange added that it has a record of taking client diversity seriously to improve users’ overall experience. Coinbase also added that it would perform the latest assessments and conclusions towards the next step in this direction, which will be revealed in February.

Coinbase user flags Geth dominance

This recent controversy was sparked with a post on X when a user complained of the risk Geth’s dominance poses to the system. The user specifically stressed that he could lose his assets in the event of a bug.

and in the event of an unforeseen geth consensus bug in the meantime, I could stand to lose a large percentage of my deposit. today, I’ve decided that this is not worth the risk.” 

Brain Armstrong, the CEO of Coinbase noted that he would take a look into the incident spurring the comprehensive response.

Addressing previous concerns

In February 2022, the exchange addressed similar concerns of client diversity of eth2 regarding validators’ dependence on Prysm. Coinbase noted that securing user assets was paramount to the network and decided to start with Prysm because it was the viable option.

Remote signers allow validators to generate and store keys in isolated environments instead of keeping them on the validator itself, which greatly increases the security of the eth2 validators on Coinbase.”

A conclusion was drawn to secure onboard Lighthouse remote signers giving users and partners more options.